I meet many interesting people, as a fell runner I experience the natural world, in my profession I see the modern world taking shape, and I'm always learning.
I travelled up to Teesside on behalf of APC, to photograph the construction of the world largest purpose built CHP biomass power plant. Globally the trend is transitioning from fossil fuels, to a mix of sustainable low carbon alternatives. This £650m project is indicative of the state of play in global power distribution and a historical marker of where we are today in the UK. Reliable and consistent power is increasingly critical to our existence, on the other side of the coin, global warming is potentially a catastrophic threat to the very same. This Plant will produce around 299MW of low carbon power from sustainable resources. The fuel is primarily waste material from sawmills, that use sustainable forests, tracked from point of origin to the plant and regulated by Ofgem.
This plant is highly efficient achieving over 80% efficiency compared to a maximum of 40% from coal-fired alternatives. This is in part due to those easily missed letters CHP. ‘Combined Heat and Power’ integrates the otherwise wasted heat into the power generation process. Although the advantages of this plant far out way the downsides, there are two primary adverse considerations. Biomass fuel can cause pollution, although this particular plant uses technology to clean the waste gases before they enter the atmosphere. The other main issue is transportation, which adds to the carbon footprint and also additional cost.
Here is a selection of pictures of the early construction phase. They include my two patient guides for the day, Colman and Patrick.